Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
and Obesity - 5 Ways
to Reduce Exposure
Nancy Hearn

dehydrated man cartoon

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, or EDCs, are known to have serious health risks and may be contributing to the increase of obesity in America.

The average American is exposed to a range of these chemicals (both natural and synthetic) from various sources, including our drinking water.

UC Irvine biologist Bruce Blumberg has studied the link between EDCs and obesity.

Blumberg is one of many researchers studying how chemicals used in food packaging, plastics, cosmetics, and pesticides can trigger dramatic increases in body fat. 

Because of the way in which these chemicals alter metabolism and our body’s ability to control weight gain, scientists are calling these chemicals “obesogens.” 

5 Ways to Reduce Exposure

There are a number of ways to reduce exposure to EDCs. Five of the most common ways include the following:

  1. Drink contaminant-free water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all forms of tap and bottled water contain at least some level of chemical contaminants. Thus, the best way to reduce exposure to EDCs in your drinking water is to choose a home water filter, available in many different water filter types to suit your budget and filtration preferences. Activated carbon block water filters will remove most EDCs.
  2. Avoid plastic food containers.  Studies indicate that nearly 93 percent of Americans have detectables levels of bisphenol-A (BPA) and 75 percent have detectable levels of pthalates. Thus, simply say no to bottled water and never heat food in plastic containers. Also avoid buying meats, cheese and other fatty foods wrapped in plastic. Many canned foods also contain BPA, so choose reliable companies whose products do not contain BPA. 
  3. Buy organic produce when possible.  The Environmental Working Group (EWG) calculated that nearly 80 percent of our pesticide exposure comes from the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables that contain highest levels of pesticides. These include:  peaches, strawberries, cherries, apples, nectarines, blueberries, imported grapes, celery, kale, spinach, sweet bell peppers, and potatoes. Buy these foods organic whenever possible to significantly reduce EDC exposure.
  4. Choose pasture-raised animal protein.  Most commercially grown animals are fed antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals to fatten them up. Animal-based products include meat, poultry, eggs and all dairy products. Grass-fed animals also have less fat than grain-fed animals that are confined indoors. An even better solution is to go vegan.
  5. Choose leaner and smaller fish.  Even though DDT was banned in 1973, the chemical is still being found in the larger fatty fish today, along with other dangerous chemicals such as mercury and PCBs. Smaller fish such as anchovies, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, herring and mackerel tend to carry a lower toxic load. Avoid larger fish such as shark, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy and large tuna. 


News.UCI.edu; A Chemical Cause of Obesity? Bruce Blumberg; 2009.   

Return from Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Obesity to Drinking Water and Weight Loss

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